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Sunday, September 16, 2018

eight more...for 24...

Howdy! Have I mentioned that one of my most favourite numbers is eight (8)? Well, it is. That and 2 and 3. Sometimes 5. You needed to know this, right? So there you go...

Before I do my next eight things I love LOVE LOVE about My Sweet Hubby (aka MSH), I want to remind Y’all that I don’t cook. I can cook. Some. (I believe I’ve confessed I’ve never baked a turkey. Or a roast. Or a cake over two layers. I doubt at 64 any of these things are going to happen in my kitchen. By me, that is.) Of course, I do have dishes I make that are actually fairly WONDERFUL. But I’m pitiful at getting up any energy for or interest in shopping for food to cook. Then actually cooking said food.

When we’d been married less than two years, three of MSH’s four sons came to live with us. Two were in high school and the third was in junior high. I worked at a job that was hard. Physically. Emotionally. Mentally. (Yes. For a lawyer. In a small-town practice that took EVERY kind of civil and family case you could possibly imagine. Like Dateline or 20/20 kind of cases. I was the assistant that worked with divorces. Child support and visitation. Custody. Lots of tough stuff.) Many days it was overwhelming.  I’d come home from work and do my best to get a meal on our dinner table for these sweet young fellas and their Dad. I was met with complete and total disinterest.

NOTE: I have four amazing stepsons. They are actually MEN now and have been for quite some time—the oldest being 52! An attorney. Two investment gurus. An ER doctor. As teens? Coming from a “divorce” situation? All of us living in small town where everyone knows everything about you? It was tough. MSH struggled with trying to help his kids adjust to a difficult transition in their lives and hoping they could accept their new Stepmommy Dearest. We were ALL adjusting to new paths and journeys.

When I was met with their inability to hide their lack of support for the meals I cooked? I rebelled. I quit. In a quiet and actually mostly polite, but firm, way. I made sure we had food to eat. Gallons of milk. Cereal. Fruit. Sandwich meat and plenty of bread. Cheese. Eggs. I quit trying to cook. I felt like a failure. It didn’t take me long,  however, to literally lose my stress over it. They were fine. All of us were not starving. Trust moi. I. Moved. On. 

Then it happened. MSH, who had often cooked for me and all of us, took control of the kitchen. TLC came along and he helped me with everything involving food and meals! It was wonderful. Special. Over-the-top nice. And YUMMO.

Eight More (Cook-y/Chef-y) Things I Love About My Sweet Hubby:

17. He can take a pantry of items that make no sense to me and come up with the most fabulous meal! It blows my mind. Seriously.

18. He cleans up as he goes along. And at the end! (Even though I often help or remind him the rule is that the cook doesn’t have to clean the dishes or kitchen.)

19. He started watching The Food Network long before all the cool kids discovered it! He AND TLC. In fact, I’d come in at night from work (different job--now a licensed professional counselor working with kids) and react this way to the TV being on The Food Network:

“Seriously, MSH? TLC? Could we watch something else? ANYTHING ELSE? SHEESH.”

Not nice of me. At. All. I’ve since done my best to make up for several years of sassiness about their cooking shows and now find myself watching many more series on that network than I ever expected to.

20. He LOVES TO SHOP! Before he retired? He’d go get our “food” groceries whenever I asked him to help me/us out. Since retirement? This is our routine:

Once to twice a week we go to the grocery store. We separate at the door. We each get our own shopping cart. I go my way. He goes his. He has his list. I have mine. I go to the paper products, beauty aisle, toy section, cards, wrapping paper and gifts aisle, cleaning products, etc. (Are you getting what I’m saying? Not only that I go nowhere near food but also that grocery stores have EVERYTHING including clothes and shoes which is nUtS.) He buys our food. We meet up to take turns paying for our purchases. We load up and go home. It works for us in a hugely FABULOUS way.

21. He is the cutest fella at the grocery store! Not just because he’s adorable looking. He really is. Trust me. But also because he talks to people about what they’re buying. What they like. What they think is good. (He could possibly be someone’s worst nightmare…I realize this…he doesn’t. Sigh and Winky. Wink.) His utmost favourite thing to do is to look for a shelf that has only ONE more bottle/box/container left on it of a product and then he buys it! Whether we need it or not. Because he says: “If it’s almost gone, it has to be good!” (Some of his theories are priceless. Or cRaZy. Depends. Now he has TLC AND Little Leighton noticing this phenomenon. When Little Leighton is shopping with TLC and she sees there's only one item left on a shelf, she tells TLC: "Look, Mom! We need to get that! Pa-Pa says that means it's good." They are all three the SILLIEST.)

22. When Little Leighton was diagnosed with Celiac disease four years ago, he became a world-class EXPERT on gluten-free food. Products. Recipes. Magazines.  Books. I used to tell folks he could do an 8-hour Seminar on the disease and how to cook great food and meals with no gluten! I, too, have stepped up my “baking” to include my gluten-free Gramcakes. GF muffins. Cookies. Cakes (one layer, naturally). Cupcakes. I must say I’m getting dadgum excellent at these treats.

23. He has prepared—almost singlehandedly—the most amazing Thanksgiving, Christmas, special occasion and party meals for family and friends. For years. We don’t do much of that now. For many, many reasons. We laugh about how we probably don’t miss it as much as we should. (Because here’s the thing: I did everything else BUT cook. That ain’t always easy for 4-40 peeps, ‘kay?)

24. He used to be the official Camp Cookie for his “Deer Hunt Gang.” Yes, he appointed himself. Frankly, all the guys were beyond grateful! They looked forward to his menus, his SUPERB breakfasts, lunches and dinners, and, most of all, his cast-iron-in-the-campfire cornbread, biscuits and desserts! I actually hoped he could start entering cast-iron/grilling/campfire contests/championships when he retired. Life happened. Two heart attacks later, MSH decided he was getting too old to camp out for five days, cooking, eating and drinking like he was in his 20s. 30s. 40s. Even 50s. He sold his “Deer Hunt Campout Chef” rig and all the fellas agreed to let their memories become their new annual experience. Sigh. Things change. Life goes on.

One of my funniest friends—who herself is an amazing “chef”—started calling MSH “Jimeril.” After Emeril Lagasse, you know. Just like that—BAM—several others took up calling him this. It fits. He could have been a Chef. A real-life Chef. He doesn’t think so. I know so. I have not one doubt.

Thanks for reading, Dearest Friends Everywhere! Have a Wonderful Week! I’ll be back soon with eight more reasons I love My Sweet Hubby of 40 years.


p.s.: TLC has taken after her Chef Dad. She is THE BEST COOK. Ever. I'm sincerely proud of both of them. Grateful. And PROUD.

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